Staff members at Meadowhall are furious over the shopping centre’s policy of fining workers for using the main car parks, amidst rising fear for women’s safety.
Employees are required to park 10 to 15 minutes away from the mall on Alsing Road, forcing them to risk their safety in the dark after shifts.
Shannon Louisee, a former employee, said: “Walking to the staff car park was eerie with not many street lights about. We had to walk past lots of bushes and by the river with minimal street lighting.
“There were odd times where there may be random folk following behind, then you are constantly watching behind you until you have reached your car and locked yourself in where you finally felt safe at last.
“Nobody should be expected to walk that far to a car park in the middle of nowhere at those times of the night.”
Employees said security members would sometimes offer to walk female staff members to the car park, but this was not always possible during the busier periods of the year.
Ms Louise eventually resorted to not registering her license number with the mall so she could park in the customer parking which made her feel safer after ending work during later hours in the night.
The policy, implemented in 2014, aimed to encourage employees to opt for sustainable modes of transport by reducing the availability of parking spaces.
The separate ‘staff parking only’ car park was designed to reduce the number of people driving to work by 10 per cent and increase the number of people taking public transport by 60 per cent.
Another employee Emma Leader said: “It was scary, and I was frustrated that we were made to park there. I always said that we should have had priority over customers, nine times out of 10 customers would not go to Meadowhall alone so it is safer for them to walk to the overflow/staff car parks.”
A spokesperson for Meadowhall said they will be taking the feedback into consideration.
“We want everyone to feel safe making their way to and from our centre and encourage anyone using our staff car park to use the dedicated footpath which is fully lit and monitored with CCTV 24 hours a day.
“The car park already has dedicated security marshals and we will be increasing this provision to provide further comfort to our colleagues in the coming weeks. We also work closely with our onsite community policing team to ensure the safety of everyone visiting and working in our centre.”